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Foreclosures jumped in 2006, ran high in 2007 and, so far, right into 2008. Bankruptcies, some aimed at staving off foreclosures, rose 41.4 percent in 2007 over 2006 in the region served by the Poughkeepsie Bankruptcy Court. People in this field blame the nation's subprime mortgage crisis, bad lending practices, loans in which rates jump up, eager but naive borrowers and a weaker economy that stresses many families.
And, experts agree, the crisis will only worsen.
The effect spreads beyond foreclosed-upon families. Loans are harder to get, many homes are worth less than their loans and foreclosures bring down property values in their neighborhoods. On the other hand, cheaper home prices are better for buyers.
Brad Kendall, Dutchess County clerk, said his office's records of default notices, or lis pendens filings, has shot up.
"If you're looking at the number of the lis pendens over the years, it gives you a sense of how much trouble is out there. It's about doubled over the last few years," Kendall said. Filings in 2007 hit 1,184.
It's not over, judging by 2008's first quarter. Filings rose 19 percent to 365 from 307 last year, Kendall said.